Talkhouse is a media company and outlet for musicians, actors, filmmakers, and others in their respective fields. Artists write essays and criticism from firsthand perspectives, speak one-on-one with their peers via the Talkhouse Podcast and Talkhouse Live events, and offer readers and listeners unique insight into creative work of all genres and generations. In short— Talkhouse is writing and conversations about music and film, from the people who make them.
Chet Faker (Nick Murphy) with Soulwax
Nick Murphy is best known for his downtempo electronic project Chet Faker, which is confusing because it also sounds like a guy’s name—but which released one of the best albums of 2014, Built On Glass. But as you’ll hear in this Talkhouse chat, Murphy put the Chet Faker name on a shelf at the height of its popularity in order to go in a more organic route under his own name. He subsequently released a pair of albums—including one initially through a meditation app, which is very 21st century and awesome. This year, he decided to bring the Chet Faker name and sound out of the attic, and he’s just released a killer new record called Hotel Surrender.
And that’s where the Belgian musicians/DJs Stephen and David Dewaele come in. The two are the principal players in a band called Soulwax, but they’ve made a massive second career as a DJ duo called 2 Many DJ’s. Back in the early aughts, 2 Many DJ’s reignited the mash-up trend with a classic mix called As Heard on Radio Soulwax Part 2. That’s right, they incorporate the name of their band right in with their other lives as DJs. They also recently opened a studio called DeeWee. Oh, and did I mention that they’re super in-demand, Grammy-nominated remixers as well? They are. And they remixed a song from the new Chet Faker album called “Whatever Tomorrow," which is what brought them together for this chat.
This intercontinental conversation—Murphy is Australian but lives in New York, the Dewaele brothers are from Belgium—gets into a lot of great stuff really quickly, including the confusing but smart way both acts can diversify, how Murphy initially found the whole idea of EDM distasteful, and a little something called “spacebar energy.” I won’t tell you what it is, but I’ll say that you probably want your songs to have it.
Thanks for listening to the Talkhouse Podcast and thanks to Nick, Stephen, and David for chatting. Check out their various guises—you won’t be disappointed. This week’s episode was produced by Melissa Kaplan, and special thanks to Keenan Kush for stepping in to record it. The Talkhouse theme song is composed and performed by the Range.
Dorian Electra with Claud
On this week’s Talkhouse Podcast, we’ve got a pair of incredible young songwriter-performers whose music isn’t super similar, but who both embrace a sort of ultra-modern mish-mash of styles: Dorian Electra and Claud. Claud was the first performer signed to Phoebe Bridgers’ new label, Saddest Factory, after spending some time in a duo called Toast. Claud’s debut album, Super Monster, is most often described as “bedroom pop”—that term is brought up in this chat—but that’s only a small part of it. There are hints of all kinds of sounds here, from vaguely Latin-esque to pop-punkish on the delightful “That’s Mr. Bitch to You.”
Dorian Electra has been at it a bit longer than Claud, having made a splash around ten years ago with playful, politically charged songs about money and gender fluidity, among many other things. Electra was featured on the Charli XCX track “Femmebot” a few years back, and in 2020 released their second album, My Agenda, which features everyone from Pussy Riot to Village People.
Electra and Claud have a great conversation, tackling everything from the importance of Spotify playlists—which played a role in each of their success—to college to the complicated commercialization of Pride Month. Enjoy.
This episode was produced by Melissa Kaplan, and the Talkhouse theme is composed and performed by the Range. See you next time!
Liz Phair with Zella Day
Liz Phair crashed into the indie-rock world in a huge way in the early ‘90s with her instant classic album Exile In Guyville, and she was already the talk of the town—in this case Chicago—before she had even performed publicly. It was an auspicious start to a fascinating career that went from indie-world stardom to Lilith Fair to composing for films and TV to a consciously pop-leaning album to a fantastic memoir called Horror Stories. And it comes full circle, sort of, with her new album Soberish, which she created with the help of producer Brad Wood, with whom she worked on her early albums, including Exile.
Zella Day took a very different path in her music life, starting out very young—at age 15—trying to write songs and make it in Nashville. That led to a revelation that she’d rather perform herself, and eventually a record deal and 2015’s pop-centric album Kicker. She played Coachella and other huge festivals, but wasn’t fully satisfied with where she was artistically, as you’ll hear in this chat. After relocating to L.A., she fell in with a slightly more serious crowd, included pals like Lana Del Rey and Weyes Blood, and her music shifted a bit. She’s currently working on an album with producer Jay Joyce, and recently released a song with Natalie Mering of Weyes Blood called “Holocene.”
Phair and Day hit it off right away in this conversation, diving right into a conversation about restarting their careers post-COVID—Phair’s dad is a retired infectious diseases expert, which gave her some unique insight—as well as the challenges of not giving too much of yourself during an album’s promotional cycle. They also tackle the meaning of the word “sober-ish,” which is pretty great. Enjoy.
Thanks for listening to the Talkhouse Podcast, and thanks to Liz Phair and Zella Day for chatting. This episode was produced by Melissa Kaplan, and the Talkhouse theme was composed and performed by the Range. See you next time!
Morgan Simpson of Black Midi with Bill Bruford (King Crimson, Yes)
This week on the Talkhouse Podcast we’ve got a special treat for the drummers and drum geeks out there: a conversation between Morgan Simpson of Black Midi and Bill Bruford of, as he says in their chat, about 101 bands. That number for Bruford isn’t too far from reality. Over a 40+ year career, he played with some incredible names in the world of progressive music, most notably Yes and King Crimson, but also his own projects, including Earthworks. He’s an astoundingly versatile and musical drummer, and we were delighted to hear that he’s still got his ear to the ground all these years later, as a fan of the relatively young band Black Midi.
You can hear it in Morgan Simpson’s voice that he’s both pleased and excited to make Bruford’s acquaintance as part of the podcast—and it’s actually the first episode we’ve recorded in quite some time where the participants are in the same room with each other! Simpson pays Bruford the ultimate drummer compliment when he says that he can recognize his playing within a couple of seconds, and Bruford isn’t shy about his love for Black Midi. He even compares them—rightfully so—to King Crimson.
Bruford himself actually retired from performing about 10 years ago, while Black Midi is just getting started. The band released their second album, Cavalcade, in May, and it’s a massively eclectic, fantastic collection of songs—a little more focused than their first, perhaps, but no less rangy and striking. They’ll hit the road for a huge tour this fall, kicking off with a slot at Pitchfork Fest in Chicago. Bruford and Simpson have a lot of fun, as you’ll hear, talking about other drummers—Phil Collins, Billy Cobham, etc—as well as the similarities in their own playing. If you’ve never realized that a snare drum could sound like you’re quote “being slapped around the head with a wet kipper,” then this conversation is for you. Enjoy.
Thanks for listening to the Talkhouse Podcast, and thanks so much to Bill Bruford and Morgan Simpson for chatting. If you like what you heard, follow Talkhouse on your favorite podcasting service, and all available social channels. This episode was produced by Melissa Kaplan, and the Talkhouse theme was composed and performed by the Range.
Michael Stipe with Jim McKay
On the latest episode of the Talkhouse Podcast, former REM frontman Michael Stipe talks with veteran indie director Jim McKay about the production company they’ve run together since the late 1980s, C-Hundred Film Corp, and the amazing work that has come out of it. In a fascinating conversation, the two best friends not only walk us through the history of the company – its humble beginnings in Athens, GA, to creating PSAs with KRS-One and Natalie Merchant, and Michael making the *original* Orange is the New Black at the Sundance Film Festival back in the ’90s – but also touch on their latest projects (McKay’s new film, and the photography book which Stipe just published) and how the pandemic has affected them, both creatively and personally. For more filmmakers talking film and TV, visit Talkhouse at talkhouse.com/film. Subscribe now to stay in the loop on future episodes of the Talkhouse Podcast.
Edgar Wright with Ron and Russell Mael (Sparks)
On the latest episode of the Talkhouse Podcast, director Edgar Wright chats with musicians Ron and Russell Mael of the beloved cult band Sparks, who are the subject of Wright’s deeply enjoyable new documentary, The Sparks Brothers. In a wide-ranging conversation, the friends and collaborators veer from gripping discussions about food to in-depth explorations of the Mael brothers’ longstanding love of their other creative passion, cinema, which finally resulted in Leos Carax directing their film Annette – which opens the Cannes Film Festival next month! They also discuss record-store hijinks, the genesis of past projects, compare notes on trailers, and much, much more. A veritable smorgasbord of an episode, it’s a real pleasure to listen to three people who so obviously relish each others company. For more filmmakers talking film and TV, visit Talkhouse at talkhouse.com/film. Subscribe now to stay in the loop on future episodes of the Talkhouse Podcast.
This episode was produced by Melissa Kaplan. The Talkhouse theme is composed and performed by the Range.
NO more intros PLEASE
I love the concept of the podcast & the 5 episodes I’ve listened to were great for the most part.
My only complaint is the super long intros. I don’t need the breakdown of topics or the guests bio. Maybe I’m in the minority but I mostly listen to the artist I’m familiar with. Can you please post some sort of time code marker so I can skip the intros? Or keep the intros to 1-2 minutes? They seem to ramble on & on & on & on...
I just discovered this series and holy crap. The drum geek in me of course was tickled with the Black Midi / Bruford episode but then I started queueing up episodes and it got out of hand. I can’t wait to listen and keep listening. Great stuff.